The aged care royal commission will get underway early next year with an opening hearing set for the third week of January.

The initial hearing of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety will take place in Adelaide on Friday 18 January, Australian Ageing Agenda was able to reveal on Tuesday.

It was previously proposed the first hearing of the commission, which was established on 8 October, would take place on 7 December or at another time this month.

Further details regarding submissions and public hearing dates are expected to be announced next week, a spokesperson said.

Providers ‘not compelled’ to respond to survey

Commissioners Justice Joseph McGrath and Lynelle Briggs recently invited approved aged care providers to make an early submission to the commission detailng any instances of poor care or complaints since 2013.

The largest 100 providers have been asked to respond to the eight-question survey by 7 January and the remaining providers by 8 February with a “comprehensive” emailed report that “should not exceed 50 pages for each service or outlet” (read more here).

The royal commission has since updated its website with information about the scope of the survey and definitions of terms, such as substandard care and mistreatment, in response to questions from providers.

It also said that providers have been asked for their cooperation but are not compelled to provide any or all of the information requested at this time.

“However, the Royal Commission has extensive compulsory powers and may, if necessary, exercise those to secure the information in question,” the advice said.

Substandard care

In relation to how “substandard care” is defined in questions 1 and 2, providers have been advised to include occasions where care did not meet relevant quality standards under the Quality of Care Principles 2014 or other obligations under the Aged Care Act such as the Charter of Care Recipients Rights and Responsibilities.

“Providers should also include care which, in their view, did not meet the high standards of quality and safety that the Australian community expects of aged care services,” the response said.

“In considering terms such as mistreatment and abuse, providers should take a common-sense view that considers community expectations,” it said.

Systemic failure

The update also clarifies the term “systemic failure” to mean a breakdown or failure on a broad or systemic basis across the service as opposed to an isolated instance of substandard care within a service otherwise providing safe and high-quality care.

Elsewhere, providers have been advised to provide a comprehensive response for the full five-year period from 1 July 2013 – 30 June 2018 including any periods the service or outlet was under previous ownership.

However, the survey only relates to services under the Aged Care Act meaning the Commonwealth Home Support Program and veterans home care program are both out of scope.

The advice is available on the aged care royal commission’s website here.

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  1. I’m curious – where it says “…providers have been advised to provide a comprehensive response for the full five-year period from 1 July 2013 – 30 June 2018 including any periods the service or outlet was under previous ownership.” How does one provider obtain records from a previous owner? Wouldn’t records being transferred from a previous owner to a current one be protected/barred due to privacy laws? Surely some electronic documentation systems and records would be held securely on servers and not shared between providers

  2. This is a Royal Commission: and I was totally blown away by the results of the Royal commission into Banks. I think there will be huge consequences if they don’t tell the truth, and I suspect that these instances of Poor Care and complaints are not just coming from the organisations but were findings from unannounced inquests and are already known and on record! The honesty will come in what they have done to make it better I think. So I assume that Residents will be consulted as well???

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